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Data from the family practitioner committees of three inner city areas — Kensington, Chelsea and Westminster; Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark; and Manchester — were compared. The information about general practitioners over one year included number of principals, distribution by partnership size and numbers working from health centre premises. Data about practices covered the five years 1979—83, with figures for mean list size, registrations and removals, temporary residents and claims for various items of service. Comparisons between the three areas showed great differences for which no convincing explanation could be found. The possibility that people living in these areas have different primary care health services suggests that comparisons should be made nationally; this requires family practitioner committees to be fully computerized and to collect their data in the same way.